Angelo State University, in San Angelo, was founded in 1928 as San Angelo College; it offered a junior college program within the San Angelo Independent School District. Originally, the college was located downtown. In 1945 a county junior college district was established, and the first board of trustees was elected. In 1947 the first building was built on the new campus. The official name was changed to Angelo State College in 1963 by a legislative act that made the college a four-year institution. The effective date of the change was September 1, 1965. Raymond M. Cavness, president starting in 1954, remained as president during the transition, and the first baccalaureate degrees were awarded in May 1967. In September of that year Lloyd Drexell Vincent became president of the college. In May 1969 the official name was changed to Angelo State University. In 1975 Angelo State became a member of the Texas State University System and has since been governed by the system's board of regents. A graduate school was authorized in May 1970 and approved in October by the Coordinating Board, Texas College and University System (now the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board). The graduate school was officially initiated in the fall of 1971.
Expansion of the university at the 268-acre campus has been significant. In the fall of 1967 the Porter Henderson Library was completed. The Raymond M. Cavness Science Building was completed in the spring of 1968. In September 1968 a ten-story women's dormitory was opened, and a similar residence for men was completed the following year. Also in 1968 Houston Harte, an early supporter of the university, and his wife Caroline announced a $250,000 gift to establish the Angelo State College Foundation. In 1971 the board of regents agreed to name the school's new student center in Harte's honor. In the summer of 1972 a physical-education complex was opened. The Robert and Nona Carr Education-Fine Arts Building, with one of the few comprehensive modular theaters in the United States, was completed in the spring of 1976. Between 1979 and 1985, a multipurpose sports facility, two new residence halls, a computer science building, and a nursing and physical science complex opened. President Vincent died in 1994 and was succeeded on an interim basis by Michael P. Ryan. E. James Hindman became the university's third president the following year. In 1996 the university opened a new, 86,000-square-foot mathematics and computer science building. In 1998 Houston Harte's sons, Edward and Houston, gave $1 million to name and expand the university's Dr. Ralph R. Chase West Texas Collection.
The university's Management, Instruction, and Research Center is located at O. C. Fisher Lake on 4,645 acres leased from the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The center supports instructional programs in animal science and biology; management and research programs in sheep, goat, and cattle production; range management and improvement; and wildlife management and ecology. A $1.25 million supporting complex was completed in August 1975. Angelo State University and Texas A&M University are working jointly to provide agricultural research and instruction for the Edwards Plateau region.
In 1976 the Roy E. Moon Distinguished Lectureship in Science was established by local physicians in honor of the late Dr. Moon, who practiced obstetrics and gynecology for twenty-eight years in San Angelo. The lectureship brings a nationally prominent scientist to Angelo State each year. The university offers a large scholarship program through the Robert G. Carr and Nona K. Carr Scholarship Foundation. The foundation awards full and partial scholarships in all departments. In addition to the Carr academic scholarship program, a $1 million endowment fund also established by Mr. and Mrs. Carr provides Air Force ROTC scholarships totaling approximately $70,000 annually. The university awards numerous other scholarships of varying amounts each year.
The university's nursing programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing and offer clinical experience through internships with area hospitals and community facilities. The medical technology program has affiliations with hospitals in San Angelo, Midland, and Abilene. The university offers programs in the arts, sciences, teacher education, nursing education, and business administration, as well as courses designed to meet entrance requirements for dentistry, engineering, law, and medicine. In the fall of 1998 enrollment at the university was 6,315, with a faculty of 229. The university's curriculum included approximately forty-five undergraduate programs leading to six baccalaureate degrees and approximately twenty graduate programs leading to eight graduate degrees.